Don’t you just love it when you’re driving on the highway, “going 240km/hr. on Lekki-Epe”, and you turn on the radio and tune in to your favorite station. The station you deeply resonate with has your best shows, gives you the “ticking dynamite moments”, and just makes you keep coming back for more. Be it the celebrity guests, the hot gossip, fashion police, or the crazy fans who seem to know it all, whether they make sense or not.
“Eyin temi bawo ni o… Shewa?”
“My people, How una dey?”
“I don come with ogbonge joli joli tori wey go totori and jollificate ur belle this beautiful morning”
“Lol,” I always wondered what it would be like to be a radio host. It always seemed like the presenters had it all figured out. Some have their call time as early as 6:00 am, so you can imagine how early they had to get up, gather their thoughts, go over their content, then execute a perfect show.
It might seem easier for some than others. A lot of people do not like the spotlight (being in front of the camera), but when it comes to talking, it becomes quite the opposite. They could “talk for Africa”. They automatically become chatterboxes. The likes of Nedu, Yaw, Lolo 1, Do2tun, Toolz among many others, serve as examples of hosts leading the pack in the on-air personality (OAP) industry in Lagos.
I’ve always admired their composure, because times without number, they receive numerous calls from listeners and fans, who applaud and commend their work, and the effort they put into providing premium content; news, entertainment, comedy, music, fictional and non-fictional conversational topics, for their amusement.
Some radio hosts even go as far as providing free services like mental and emotional support for their listeners. They invite healthcare professionals on air to enlighten and educate people, also to raise awareness on the importance of mental health; its benefits, as well as risks likely to be faced, if not properly managed.
A lot of people in society are constantly going through adversity. People from poor family backgrounds, victims of circumstance, those going through addiction issues (drugs, alcohol, heroin), some victims of sexual assault (rape), and victims of abuse (physical and verbal), and they just need an outlet, a listening ear.
I personally had an experience one day. A guy called in and said he had tried and done everything within his power, but nothing seems to be going great for him. Clearly from the way he sounded, it seemed like he did not have any family he could call, or friends he could confide in. By the time the presenter was about to advise him, he ended in a very sad tone saying “there’s no use. It’s better to just end it all”.
Sometimes impersonators and false perpetrators come on air to seek attention, or just create a false identity and a sob story as a money-making scheme to have listeners donate money for them, but in all honesty, that night, I could feel the sadness in the caller’s voice, and a genuine loss of hope. Before the host could respond, he had cut the call, and switched his mobile device off, because she complained of not being able to reach the young man again.
Whether I’m on a bus, taking a walk, or a drive, and I see people tuned in to their favorite radio stations, laughing, dancing, listening, or even calling in to air their views, I just smile, because “Happiness is free”. If this is how they can achieve it, then I’m 100% behind them. I hope one day I can fulfill my dream of becoming a radio host, and give back to those around me because I’ve had my worst days, and I’m grateful I also had the radio to cheer me on.